President Trump tweets that he and the first lady are entering quarantine
Credit: Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller Associated Press October 2, 2020
WASHINGTON — The White House said Friday that President Donald Trump was suffering “mild symptoms” of COVID-19, adding that he was in good spirits and working in the family quarters though the announcement of his illness threw the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election.
The revelation came in a Trump tweet about 1 a.m. after he had returned from an afternoon political fundraiser without telling the crowd he had been exposed to an aide with the disease that has killed more than 205,000 Americans and more than a million people worldwide.
First lady Melania Trump also tested positive, the president said, and several others in the White House have, too, prompting concern that the White House or even Trump himself might have spread the virus further. The Trumps’ son Barron, who lives at the White House, tested negative.
Trump has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of the virus, rarely wearing a protective mask and urging states and cities to “reopen” and reduce or eliminate shutdown rules.
Both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have tested negative, their campaign said. Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the virus Friday morning and “remains in good health,” his spokesman said.
Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who was with him and many others on Saturday and has been on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers, also tested negative, the White House said.
Trump’s diagnosis was sure to have a destabilizing effect in Washington and around the world, raising questions about how far the virus has spread through the highest levels of the U.S. government. Hours before Trump announced he had contracted the virus, the White House said a top aide who had traveled with him during the week had tested positive.
While House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Friday tried to assure the public that Trump was conducting business as usual, even as he confirmed that the White House knew Hope Hicks, the aide, had tested positive before Trump attended a Thursday fundraiser in New Jersey.
“I can tell you in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as Marine One was taking off yesterday,” said Meadows. Several staffers were pulled from the trip, but Trump did not cancel, even after having been exposed to Hicks.
Many White House and senior administration officials were undergoing tests Friday, but the full scale of the outbreak around the president may not be known for some time as it can take days for an infection to be detectable by a test. Officials with the White House Medical Unit were tracing the president’s contacts.
Trump was considering how he might address the nation or otherwise communicate with the American people Friday, an official added.
Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and did not appear ill. He is 74 years old and clinically obese, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide.
The president’s physician said in a memo that Trump and the first lady, who is 50, “are both well at this time” and “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”
Trump has been trying all year to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them. In the best of cases, if he develops no symptoms, which can include fever, cough and breathing trouble, it will likely force him off the campaign trail just weeks before the election and puts his participation in the second presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, into doubt.
Trump’s handling of the pandemic has already been a major flashpoint in his race against Biden, who spent much of the summer off the campaign trail and at his home in Delaware citing concern about the virus. Biden has since resumed a more active campaign schedule, but with small, socially distanced crowds. He also regularly wears a mask in public, something Trump mocked him for at Tuesday night’s debate.
“I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said of Biden. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
In a tweet Friday morning, Biden said he and his wife “send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”
World leaders offered the president and first family their best wishes after their diagnosis, as governments used their case as a reminder for their citizens to wear masks and practice social distancing measures.
Trump’s announcement came hours after he confirmed that Hicks, one of his most trusted and longest-serving aides, had been diagnosed with the virus Thursday. Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information. She was isolated from other passengers aboard the plane, the person said.
Hicks had been with Trump and other senior staff aboard Marine One and Air Force One en route to that rally and had accompanied the president to Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, along with members of the Trump family. The Trump contingent removed their masks during the debate, in violation of the venue rules.
Multiple White House staffers have previously tested positive for the virus, including Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and one of the president’s personal valets. An RNC official confirmed Friday that Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel learned she had tested positive Wednesday afternoon. She has been at her home in Michigan since last Saturday and did not attend the debate.
But Trump has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable. He has mostly refused to abide by basic public health guidelines — including those issued by his own administration — such as wearing face coverings in public and practicing social distancing. Instead, he has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of often mask-less supporters.
“I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” he told reporters back in May.
Questions remain about why Trump and his aides continued to come to work and travel after Hicks fell ill. Trump traveled to New Jersey on Thursday for the fundraiser, exposing attendees to the virus. Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who were originally set to join him on the trip, were replaced at the last minute by other aides.
But McEnany still briefed the press Thursday morning and made no mention of Hicks’ suspected illness, raising anew concerns about White House transparency.
It is unclear where the Trumps and Hicks may have caught the virus, but in a Fox interview, Trump seemed to suggest it may have been spread by someone in the military or law enforcement in greetings.
The White House began instituting a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides after earlier positive cases close to the president. Anyone in close proximity to the president or vice president is also tested every day, including reporters.
Trump is far from the first world leader to test positive for the virus, which previously infected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent a week in the hospital, including three nights in intensive care. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hospitalized last month while fighting what he called a “hellish” case of COVID-19.
NJ cops won’t face penalty for making too few arrests under new bill
Under the proposal, agencies would be barred from using the number of arrests made or citations issued to evaluate an officer’s overall performance
Credit By Blake Nelson for – nj.com December 14, 2020
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey lawmakers advanced a bill Friday to prevent cops from facing demotion, discipline or pay cuts just because they didn’t arrest more people.
A department would be barred from considering the number of arrests made or citations issued when evaluating an officer’s overall performance, under a proposal (S1322) approved 6-0 by the state Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
Current law allows those statistics to be one of the factors considered when officials weigh promotions, demotions, dismissals, discipline and salaries.
Police “are all too often pressured to write more tickets to increase revenue and help municipalities balance their budgets,” state Sen. Shirley Turner, D- Mercer and one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement. Other departments have been accused of having secret arrest “quotas,” she said.
“These policies, whether written or unwritten, have fallen hardest upon low-income individuals and people of color,” Turner added.
The bill would still allow arrest and citation statistics to be tracked. The proposal must pass the full Senate and Assembly before it can head to the governor’s desk.
Several policing reforms have advanced since George Floyd protests swept the state. The governor recently signed a bill into law largely requiring departments to use body cameras, but other reforms have stalled.
Police prepare for protests after officer-involved shooting in Philadelphia leaves criminal dead
November 13, 2020 – Credit Law Enforcement Today
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania got into a vehicle pursuit with a man who was armed with a gun.
When the subject crashed his car during the pursuit, he began to fire on the officers, prompting them to return fire, striking and killing the man.
The incident occurred on November 12th when officers in an unmarked police vehicle noted a red Ford Mustang that was stopped in an intersection near B and Stella Streets.
The officers honked their horn, apparently hoping the driver would move out of the intersection and allow them to pass, but the car did not move.
Officers exited their vehicle and approached the man, who was holding a gun in his hand. When they got the man’s attention, he seemed startled and fled.
The vehicle pursuit continued until the car crashed near Jasper Street and Hart Lane. The driver, who has not been identified at this time, took off in an attempt to get away from the officers.
Fearing for their lives, the officers returned fire, striking the man. Officers rushed into render aid to the man, and called for medics to respond to the scene. Once they arrived, they transported the suspect to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Thankfully, the police were not injured during the incident. The officers involved will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is normal procedure for these cases.
Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp said:
“When the officers in their unmarked vehicle came upon that crash, one of the officers exited the vehicle and stayed with the crashed vehicle to preserve that scene. While the other officer stayed inside of their unmarked car to try to ascertain the location of the driver.
“Shortly thereafter, he came upon this male…at which point the officer exited his vehicle [and] attempted to stop the male. From what we have through surveillance footage and body cam footage…it appears that the offender fired at least two shots at our police officer.
“Our police officer fired at least two shots in return, striking the male…that male was transported by police to Einstein Hospital and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter…
This is a very fluid situation…while this investigation is taking place, it will be handled by our Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit along with Internal Affairs who will provide the results of their concurrent investigations to the District Attorney’s Office.”
“New dash cam video shows the 39 year old suspect in the red mustang fleeing from police, driving the wrong way and almost hitting Avi D, in his car. The suspect eventually crashed, and fled on foot before exchanging shots with @PhillyPolice.”
At this point, police stated that they have identified the male as a 39-year-old Hispanic, but they are not releasing his name. This is most likely because they have not made contact with the man’s next of kin.
The City of Philadelphia is just getting over the mass riots, protests, and looting that occurred after police shot and killed Walter Wallace, Jr. In that incident, police were called because Wallace was threatening family members with a knife.
When police arrived on the scene, they made contact with Wallace who was still armed with the knife. Officers backed up, almost to the point of running away from Wallace, while shouting orders for the man to drop the knife, which he ignored.
After several orders were ignored and Wallace appeared to pick up his pace towards officers, they opened fire, striking and killing him at the scene.
Despite the video evidence which proves officers account of the situation, the city still became a center of unrest because Wallace allegedly suffered from mental illness which is believed by the family to have caused the incident.
2 officers ambushed in New Orleans, one shot in face by man in pedicab
The officers were in an SUV when the pedicab approached
Credit: The New Orleans Advocate
NEW ORLEANS — A pedicab passenger inexplicably shot a New Orleans police officer in the face in the French Quarter on Friday afternoon, just as revelers began arriving to celebrate Halloween weekend.
The officer was wounded at about 4:25 p.m. while in his patrol vehicle near St. Philip and Royal streets. Other officers took him to a hospital rather than wait for paramedics, and police arrested the alleged gunman within minutes, Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the officer was in serious but stable condition after being shot under his left eye. The bullet was lodged in the officer’s skull, but the four-year veteran, whose name was not immediately released, was responsive as he walked into the hospital holding his cheek, Ferguson said.
A second officer, a 16-year veteran, was wounded by glass shards in the shooting, from a shattered window on the cruiser.
“Two of our officers were ambushed,” said Ferguson, who said officers confiscated a gun that they think was used in the shooting. “This is a dark day.”
Ferguson said the suspect, who had a gun holster on him, appeared to be experiencing some type of medical episode when he was captured. He said the man was taken to a hospital for evaluation, and he made clear that the arresting officers did not use any physical force on the suspect.
“I want to commend those officers for maintaining professionalism,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson did not identify the suspect or specify what charges he would face.
Friday night, a law enforcement source identified the suspect as Donnell Linwood Hansel, 45.
Several eyewitnesses said two officers were in an SUV on Royal Street crossing St. Philip when a pedicab riverbound on St. Philip approached. A man in the back of the pedicab stood up and fired at least five shots into the driver’s side door of the police vehicle, they said. The shooter ran off as the pedicab crashed.
Gabriel Shaffer, an artist who owns a gallery on that block of Royal, said he heard the wounded officer get out of the vehicle while moaning and exclaiming in pain.
“I could clearly hear him say, ‘Oh, my God, somebody just took my life!'” Shaffer said. “It was pretty awful.”
Tour guides Angie Still and Karen Fernandez said they were just a few yards away when the shooting erupted. They saw an officer on the passenger side of the targeted police vehicle jump out and scream, “Officer down!” Neither officer from the vehicle appeared to have time to return fire.
“We were just sitting there in shock,” Still said.
Douglas Mackar, who was in a building overlooking the scene of the shooting, said he heard the gunshots and ran to the window. He said he saw the driver of the pedicab crash into the sidewalk and run for cover.
Mackar said he ran from the window to check on his girlfriend, and by the time he returned, the wounded officer had already been whisked away to the hospital. “Whoever was first on the scene got him loaded up and out of here within seconds,” Mackar said.
A woman who asked that her name not be published said she saw the suspected shooter flailing, screaming and trying to bite first responders who were loading him into an ambulance after his arrest.
At the wig shop Fifi Mahoney’s, employees grabbed a few passerby from the street and locked them inside along with six customers. One customer, a doctor, left and dashed to the shooting scene to help, returning later with bloodied hands to take his wife home, an employee said.
Ferguson said passersby helped officers find the gunman by pointing him out as he ran to the intersection of St. Peter and Decatur streets. A retired Army veteran performed first aid on the officer’s face wound before he was taken to the hospital, Ferguson said.
The police chief thanked those members of the public for each of those actions, which came amid a party atmosphere that is typical in the French Quarter on a Friday evening.
Donovan Livaccari of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge called the shooting was a sobering reminder of the dangers inherent to professional law enforcement.
“Merely driving down the street … can lead to gunfire,” he said. “These two officers were not responding to a call for service. They were not looking for an armed subject on a pedicab. They were driving around in the French Quarter on routine patrol.”
“If the city can’t even keep the police safe, how can we feel safe?” wondered a worried Kim Planche Hunter, who has lived in the French Quarter resident for 70 years.
Ferguson said the attack marked a particularly grueling hour in what has been a difficult year for both his agency and the city. Not only has New Orleans been gripped by the deadly coronavirus pandemic since March, it also took a direct hit two days earlier from Hurricane Zeta, a strong Category 2 storm that caused widespread damage and left tens of thousands without electricity even two days later.
“We’ll get through this together,” Ferguson said.
Katelyn Umholtz contributed to this report.
(c)2020 The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
McClatchy-Tribune News Service